Police in New Zealand have apologised to ‘persons of Irish descent’ after they incorrectly blamed a tourist for driving a car with a kayak strapped sideways to its roof.
In their initial statement they titled the announcement as ‘What were you thinking? Police ask Irish tourist’ after the motorist was pulled over northern Coromandel region.
The statement also connected the visitor from Ireland to a number of overseas tourists who had been involved in traffic collisions.
“The driver was unrepentant telling the officer that stopped him that if he secured the kayak long-ways as he is supposed to it would cause damage to the roof of his car,” it reads.
“To make matters worse the Tairua officer was already on her way to a vehicle crash and this driver’s behaviour could very easily have caused another, imagine if he’s encountered a cyclist driving like this?”
However, the person in question, Jonathan Waters, isn’t Irish at all and is an Auckland native.
He told New Zealand website ‘Stuff’ that the wind was to blame for rotating the kayak.
Initially, the police had said that the officer heard an Irish accent and asked for formal identification, but Waters says that they were merely helping him to rectify the problem rather than address dangerous driving.
The police later admitted that no identification had been sought and that the officer must have misheard his accent. They have apologised for the initial statement which continued to preach: “the importance of all drivers adhering to the road rules regardless of their nationality.”